Exhibition: The Eye of the Needle

Ashmolean - Eye of the Needle

Exhibition dates: 1 August – 12 October 2014

The Eye of the Needle displays, for the first time in public, a selection of eye-catching, virtuoso seventeenth-century embroideries from the internationally renowned Feller Collection, together with outstanding examples from the Ashmolean’s own holdings.

These remarkable embroideries include colourful raised and flatwork pictorial panels, beautiful samplers and household items such as boxes, cushions and dress accessories including caps, coifs and gloves.

The exhibition will explore the context in which these dramatic and technically exacting works were made, examining their importance in creating the ideal goodly and godly woman through the discipline of painstaking embroidery, reinforcing both social status and appropriate behaviour.

Exquisite objects in their own right made with colourful silks, pearls and semi-precious stones, the embroideries also reflect the religious, political and social concerns of the English Civil War period.

For those eagle-eyed readers who have spotted the overwhelmingly European tone of this post on a blog purporting to be about Asian textiles, I am assured that there are a number of camels among the many embroidered creatures on show, which we hope will satisfy your appetite for the exotic!

For more information, visit the website of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

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